Former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos, was recently TKO’d by current title holder, Cain Velasquez, in their trilogy bout, which headlined UFC 166 in Houston just over 10 days ago.
Velasquez was able to dominate “Cigano” from the opening bell, much like he did in their second encounter at UFC 155.
However, in an exclusive interview with Tatame, dos Santos says that Cain did not prove he is the better fighter with his performace in Houston:
Carlos Antunes: What went wrong in the fight?
JDS:It was a fight that, for sure, was heavily studied beforehand by both sides, my team as much as his. But I believe that in the end, his team brought a more effective strategy in order to fight just to win. My strategy was to impose my game and, as always, get the knockout. Perhaps it was a more emotional strategy than a rational one.
CA: You knocked Velasquez out in 2011. Why weren’t you able to repeat that result this time?
JDS:What was missing for me was the distance to finish my combinations. His goal was accomplished, as every time he felt one of my punches, he clinched and leaned into me, allowing himself enough time to recover.
CA: Do you regret going for the choke that directly led to your being finished in the fight?
JDS: No. I was confident that I was able to win and was trying to in every way that I could, even including this choke attempt that ended up turning against me, as in the process of Velasquez defending the choke, I hit my head on the mat, which caused the technical knockout.
CA: After the fight, you took photos with Cain. Did you guys get the chance to talk?
JDS: I had just finished a huge fight against the athlete I consider my biggest rival in my weight class. Putting the result aside for a second, I have grown a lot and learned a lot from this rivalry. And what continues is the feeling of respect.
CA: Do you consider Cain the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time?
JDS: I think that today we are fighting at a different level than what had ever previosuly been fought. It’s difficult to compare, but he’s one of the best for sure.
CA: You received an indefinite medical suspension. When do you think you’re going to be back inside the Octagon?
JDS: I’m not sure yet. My team and I are waiting for some analyses that will be taken. My facial bruises and swelling have already healed.
CA: Do you believe this loss will make you stronger in the future?
JDS: I believe so, yes. The more I fight, the more I learn and the stronger I get, thus making me a better fighter each and every time. The biggest lesson I learned from this fight is that besides counting on ability, training, and heart, it is necessary to formulate an effective strategy and follow it, which is not as simple as it seems. Negative results should not bring us down but rather become agents which make us better each and every time.
CA: Do you intend to change anything in your training?
JDS: We always have to look for ways to improve ourselves, and life requires constant change. I’m not satisfied with the way things went in this fight, such an important fight for my career. So, definitely, there will be some changes made.
CA: Where do you see yourself in the heavyweight division right now?
JDS: I still consider myself one of the main challengers to the title. He showed that he had an effective strategy to win the fight, looking to play it safe while not taking many chances to show he was the better fighter, blocking my punches in a way that is typical of wrestlers. He applied pressure, grabbing hold of me and avoiding the fight, making the fight boring, making the audience boo a lot. An effective strategy to win, but he didn’t prove he was the better fighter.
Do you agree with the statements made by Junior dos Santos? Let’s hear it Penn Nation!